12/23/2009, No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, FL
We want to wish everyone an early Merry Christmas. We moved yesterday to No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne, FL after filling up on diesel and water at Crandon Park Marina. We may get a weather window to cross sometime Christmas night into Saturday morning. Hopefully our next blog entry will be from Nassau, BAJAMAS!! Cross your fingers for a safe and uneventful crossing!
Our anchorage is nice and quiet in the company of about 10 other boats preparing for the jump. Do you see Anastasia in the photo above? From what we can tell, it is located in a state park so it is very well tended and very serene. Unfortunately, no wi-fi...we had to walk 2 miles to the local public library for this post. Hence the early Holiday wishes!
Also, there are two new videos on Smug Mug from our move yesterday.
We hope this finds everyone well and happy for the Holiday! Merry Christmas!
12/21/2009, Miami Beach, FL
Here is a cool shot of Anastasia caught by the photographer aboard Elizabeth in our anchorage here in Miami. This is during a downpour on Thursday last week.
Six Days, Seven Nights...So Far
12/20/2009, Miami Beach, FL
We have been here in Miami for almost a week now. It is quite an interesting place. Tall buildings, lush, green foliage everywhere, lots of people, lots of languages, green-blue water, white sand and public transportation. English is by no means the primary language here. This is the first time that I have felt inadequate in my own country by the words not found in my cranial dictionary. Spanish is a MUST. Portugese, Italian & Russian are a few of the others that might come in handy for a night out on the town. At least in Miami Beach. Walking down the street in South Beach is a feast for the eyes! Shops and restaurants line the avenues and really compete for your business with Hostesses luring you inside.
This is a GREAT place to visit. Lots to see. We will be here for a few more days waiting on weather to change in our favor. Thursday & Friday brought a tropical like low dumping bucket loads of rain and whipping winds out of the South. Yesterday and today we have been drying out with high North Westerly winds. Needless to say the wind generator is keeping us topped off with juice.
Right now we are in a Dunkin' Doughnuts with lightning fast internet and have uploaded some video to our SmugMug page. Check out Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce & Miami.
My Request To You
12/16/2009, Miami Beach, FL
I need help! When we did our first round of provisioning for the trip, reluctantly I threw bags upon bags of dried beans into the load. I say reluctantly because I don't have any recipes for beans. But my sweet husband thinks that to be a real sailor you MUST eat beans...lots of them. Until now, I have kept his requests at bay with the excuse: "I forgot to soak them and it will take too long!" But in all reality when we arrive in the Bahamas, you can't just stroll down to the Piggly Wiggly to pick up chicken thighs and a nice steak. We need the protein from a different source.
I cannot put his bean cravings off much longer so I am turning to you for reinforcements. Here is my request. Recipes that use BEANS! Not something too complicated, or that uses a lot of ingredients, or too many fresh ingredients because they are not always available. Start me off easy and then we can get into the more advanced stuff. Where to send? You can click on the link to the right beneath our profile to send via email.
I am so excited! And I am sure Maxwell will thank you too!
Mee-Ah-Mee (aka: Miami!)
12/15/2009, Miami Beach, FL
Anastasia delivered us safely once more from another outside passage. So far we have completed four offshore legs on the trip with each one being better than the last. Yesterday we departed Ft. Pierce inlet around 8AM, heading for open water. This trip, unlike the others, found us hugging the shore, staying only at most 5 miles offshore because of the gulf stream. The gulf stream is a strong south to north current that would definitely not be in our favor. So as night fell we enjoyed sailing against the bright city skyline that was with us until the sun rose this morning. Even better, we were able to sail for almost the entire trip, nice to give Ian (our diesel engine) a break.
We entered the main channel of Miami with no trouble and no traffic. We have heard that this is one of the busiest ports in Florida but it looked like a ghost town when we passed. No cruise ships, no tankers, nothing but our good luck.
Something that we have yet to experience on this trip has happened here in South Miami Beach. We are sweating, genuinely and continuously sweating! It is great! After being so bitterly cold and sometimes wet AND cold, it is really nice to sit in the sun with that long lost perspiration cresting your brow.
From here it is over to the Bahamas. We are not sure just when that will be as we really like it here in South Miami Beach so far. Weather permitting, I assume we will be here for 5-6 days. Plus, our great friends aboard Fox Sea that we met in Annapolis are here too in the same anchorage. We plan to have dinner with them tonight and catch up on what has happened for both of us since October when we were in Annapolis together.
Current conditions: (other than the 85+ degree temperatures) A still anchorage in the company of 8 other boats, shore lined with pastel colored buildings and palm trees! We are listening to a latin pop station on the radio and watching the "Miami-Vice" cigarette boats race back and forth across the open water behind us.
Will have photos up soon on SmugMug.
The Coolest Place So Far
12/09/2009, Vero Beach, FL
Well, actually the warmest! Today the high in Vero Beach is forecasted to reach 86 DEGREES!! While our friends and family at home are experiencing what I like to call "Winter," we are experiencing what we know as "Summer," even though every music station is blasting "Winter Wonderland!" The lead shot is the mooring field at Vero Beach welcoming us to the party. We rafted up to another boat "El Rio." The couple aboard were French Canadian and very friendly, catching our lines as we exchanged greetings. Merci Beaucoup!
To rewind a bit and tell you how we got here, lets go back to our last anchorage: Fenandina Beach, FL. What a cute town despite the industrial presence from two huge paper factories. The historic area has been well preserved and is a great place for walking. Whether we were just admiring the architecture or searching for a quaint coffee shop, the offerings never failed to surprise us. Unfortunately, after this great first day in Florida, we learned of my Grandmother's passing and on Tuesday, I flew home via Jacksonville airport to be with my family. Maxwell and Anastasia stayed in Fernandina for four days toughing out some nasty weather while I was in Virginia. During this quality time together, he was able to focus on some projects that had been put on the back burner. Friday, I returned, and we spent two more nights before heading offshore, bound for Cape Canaveral.
Sunday: We awoke around 2AM to get underway. The tides are so strong through the inlet at St. Mary's, that it required an unconventional departure time. We caught an outgoing tide that made for a fast exit out of the inlet and found ourselves once again in the Atlantic. This time it was SO cold! I think Maxwell said it was 39 degrees when we left. This meant layers, lots of them. What we had been told was that when you are around the latitude of Daytona Beach, FL the temperature would begin to change. And it did!
The conditions offshore for the trip were pretty consistent with 15-20 knot winds and 3-5 foot seas. We were able to sail most of the way, beginning with a broad reach and eventually ended up close hauled as the wind veered from NE to E to SE. Check out our video, "St. Mary's Inlet to Cape Canaveral, FL," that Maxwell took at sunrise Monday morning.
I mentioned before about how nice it is to be offshore but not being alone. Throughout the passage we were in constant radio contact with other sailing vessels: Passport, Galena, Daphne, Elizabeth & Clear Day. Even if we are separated by as much as 25 miles, we still are reporting to each other our positions and observed weather.
We arrived in Cape Canaveral around 9AM to find cruise and casino ships lining the entrance. After passing through the 401 bridge opening and Cape Canaveral locks, where we saw manatees floating about everywhere, we found ourselves once again on the ICW. Our anchorage for the morning and night was Cocoa Beach, another cute town. After a long nap to catch up on much needed sleep we ventured ashore with our friends aboard Daphne & Elizabeth to explore. The temperature warranted short sleeves and sandals, worn by all! We are getting closer!
Tuedsay morning we were off again departing around sunrise into the thick fog, accompanied by Daphne & Elizabeth for the trip. We motored using our radar as a guide for the first 4 hours until the fog burned off. This is a tool we have found to be invaluable for sailing at night and in fog. Maxwell really enjoys the added challenge of navigating where we cannot see farther than ¼ mi ahead of us. For me it is unnerving.
After a full day of motor sailing we entered sunny Vero Beach around 4PM. It is a well protected mooring field surrounded by beautiful green mangroves. We went out to dinner, what a treat! The restaurant had happy hour and a live band, which was great. Vero Beach is also known as "Velcro" Beach. After venturing out today on the free city bus, we can see why. This town caters to cruisers and looks a lot like paradise. Palm trees everywhere, warm temperatures, and great cruising perks are calling us to tighten our lines in preparation for a few day's stay.
From here, we plan to go into Ft. Pierce via the ICW and then offshore to Miami. And after Miami, it is across the Gulf Stream to the BAHAMAS!